I-Team 10 investigation: Millions in unclaimed cash that could help you, the taxpayer

Posted at: 05/02/2013 8:12 AM
Updated at: 05/03/2013 12:00 AM
By: Berkeley Brean

The I-Team tracks down money to help ease the burden on taxpayers like you. There are tens of thousands of dollars in unclaimed cash that should be in the hands of your town or school district.

Right now, most of it is sitting in a state bank account doing nothing. The money is part of the state's unclaimed funds. The conventional wisdom is that it's just for individuals. But there are thousands of dollars that belong to the entities that tax you. The problem is they didn't know anything about it until they got a call from the I-Team.

I-Team 10 was with Romeo Colilli, the Assistant Business Manager for the Greece Central School District, when he was on the phone with the Office of Unclaimed Funds. The district is getting $1,504.78, money that the district did not know existed.

He's not the only one. I-Team 10 was in the supervisor's office in the town of Canandaigua when Sam Casella also got good news. They are getting a total of $1,983.50.

Sam Casella, Canandaigua Supervisor, said, “Hey, it's two thousand bucks we have before I made the phone call.”

In both cases, the money was sitting with the state's Office of Unclaimed Funds and the money is from old checks to the town and district that never got cashed for some reason. New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says it's money that should be back in local hands.

Thomas DiNapoli, NYS Comptroller, said, “You're right, it tends not to be in the millions of dollars but it can be in the thousands of dollars and the many thousands of dollars and I think for any organization of any size that could be real money.”

The budgets in Greece schools and the town of Canandaigua are into the multi-millions. So a couple of thousand dollars isn't going to solve major budget problems. But it can make a difference.

Colilli said, “I look at it as $1,500 in a $200 million budget may not seem like a lot but if you figure that it's $100 for a field trip, that's field trips that students could take that can be paid for with this money.”

Casella said, “It's great that the comptroller is bring this all together and getting this out to those that it's owed to, in this case it's the taxpayers of our town.”

If you combine all the towns, school districts, not-for-profits and individuals, the comptroller said there is $62 million in unclaimed funds just in Monroe County alone. I-Team 10 knows there are thousands owed to the town of Penfield, Churchville-Chili schools and Hilton schools.

To find out if you have unclaimed funds, click here.